As a personal injury attorney, we see cases that differentiate in the amount of time it takes to settle. The more detailed the case, the longer it will take. Of course, if you want to settle your case quickly, you are looking at a lower sum of compensation that you will receive. Here, we will look at why it takes a little bit longer to settle certain cases.
There are three main reasons why your case is taking longer to settle, they are:
- there are legal or factual problems with the case
- the case involves a lot of money
- you have not reached the maximum medical improvement with your medical treatment for your injuries.
If your case involves any of the above situations, the bad news it that your case will take more time to settle than most.
If liability is difficult to prove in your case, then the insurer is not likely to make a reasonable settlement offer – this may be because it is taking longer to prove that the defendant is the one who is at fault. If problems come from damages, it will be your and your attorney’s responsibility to prove the defendant was negligent. If your doctor’s are unsure, then the insurer will not make a reasonable settlement offer.
MMI – Maximum Medical Improvement
MMI stands for Maximum Medical Improvement and it could be one of the many reasons it is taking longer than expected to settle your case. Your personal injury attorney is waiting for you to finish your medical treatments before they can make a demand. MMI means that you have recovered as best as you are going to recover after your injuries. The reason you want to wait until you are at MMI is so that your bodily injury attorney will know how to value your damages. If you are still treating, your attorney will not know how much money to recover for you. If you are not fully recovered from your injuries, your case will likely settle for far less than what it is worth.
Coming to a quick settlement is fine if you want to settle your case quickly – but we urge you to have patience with the process. If you decide to settle before you are finished treating, you may not get enough compensation to cover all of the damages from your accident.
Unfortunately, there are no rules about short settlements. In some cases, the insurer may offer 30-35% of what it might offer at trial or through mediation, sometimes it is far less.
Cases can take several months and up to several years depending on the severity of the case. Some auto accidents can take a few months, while a case of wrongful death can take several years.
Even if you are unsure of how you want to proceed, always contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your options.